When ‘Drop It’ Is the Best New Year’s Resolution
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When ‘Drop It’ Is the Best New Year’s Resolution

Some aspects of sleep, weight, friendships and fitness aren’t worth worrying about

By ALEX JANIN
Wed, Jan 4, 2023 9:23amGrey Clock 4 min

Millions of people spend the final days of December coming up with ambitious tasks for the new year. In 2023, resolve to take something off your plate instead.

Physical and mental health—including eating habits, self-care, exercise and weight loss—are among the most common focuses for resolutions. But nearly two-thirds of people who set New Year’s resolutions abandon them within the first month, according to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Part of the problem is that designating vague goals often sets us up for failure, physical- and mental-health professionals say. Consciously removing some of them from your mental to-do list can help alleviate stress and improve focus, says social psychologist Jessica Ayers.

“By taking off one of those big, lofty goals, you’re giving yourself the freedom to actually pursue the goals that are most important to you,” says Dr. Ayers, who is based in Boise, Idaho.

Here are four anti resolutions that will help you enter 2023.

Stop Worrying About Being Night Owl

If you are one of the many people whose bedtimes shifted later during the pandemic, you might be resolving to go to bed earlier. Getting more sleep is a worthy goal, but being a night owl isn’t necessarily the problem, according to sleep researchers.

People have individual chronotypes, or natural tendencies for waking early or sleeping in. When it comes to sleep health, quality, quantity and consistency are the most important metrics, sleep experts say.

If you go to bed at midnight but get between seven and nine hours of good-quality sleep, there is probably no need to worry about moving your bedtime up, says Shelby Harris, a Westchester, N.Y.-based clinical psychologist specialising in behavioural sleep medicine.

Dr. Harris says she has noticed a stigma around being a night owl, compared with morning larks, who are often viewed as more productive and in sync with the nine-to-five schedule. She tells patients they should only embark on the often difficult work of shifting their circadian rhythms, which she says can cause anxiety and insomnia in the early stages, if they are suffering from sleep deprivation.

Stop Weighing Yourself

Many people resolve to lose weight in the new year only to end up obsessing over the number on the scale or give up altogether, doctors and dietitians say.

For those whose doctors have urged them to monitor their weight at home, including people working to prevent or manage chronic conditions, patients undergoing cancer treatments and certain people who are underweight, it is a good idea to keep the scale handy, according to health experts.

Otherwise, consider ditching the scale altogether, says Gregory Dodell, an endocrinologist in New York City who sees many patients for weight-related matters. Self-weighing has been associated with weight loss, but also lower levels of self-esteem and higher levels of stress, according to a meta-analysis of 23 studies published in the journal Health Psychology Review in 2016.

“Stepping on a scale without any other health markers is not very impactful,” says Dr. Dodell.

He recommends giving priority to healthy behaviours, such as incorporating more movement into your day and eating enough protein, fruits and vegetables, which can improve health indicators even if they don’t affect weight. Patients who like tracking health metrics might want to focus on other quantifiable characteristics such as blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, he says.

Caroline Susie, a registered dietitian in Dallas, says she has focused on celebrating what she calls non-scale victories with clients, which can include sleeping better, having regular bowel movements, or feeling more energetic.

Stop Worrying That You Don’t Have Enough Friends

Many resolution-setters aim to meet new people and make new friends, but when it comes to friendships, psychologists say, quality matters more than quantity.

We have a limited amount of time and energy to invest in our relationships, says Dr. Ayers, the social psychologist. Keeping a smaller circle of friends allows us to invest more time into meaningful conversations with them, she says.

“Think of deepening instead of broadening,” says psychologist Marisa G. Franco.

As we age and become aware that the end of our lives is drawing closer, we tend to care less about having more friends, a phenomenon known in the field of social science as socio-emotional selectivity. To start forging closer bonds, increase the amount of time you spend with your close friends. That can mean scheduled dates, such as weekly dinners or book clubs, but should also include last-minute hangouts, says Dr. Franco.

“It’s a sign of intimacy when we believe people won’t reject us,” she says.

In a 2020 study of women published in Adultspan Journal, those who visited with close friends a couple of times a week felt younger and had significantly higher levels of life satisfaction than those who visited with theirs a couple of times a year or not at all.

Stop Wasting Money on Fitness

Planning to join a pricey health club or fitness program this year? Don’t rely on the price tag to motivate you.

“Meaningful, lasting, positive change doesn’t come from shame, blame and guilt,” says Darlene Marshall, a personal trainer and wellness coach in Valley Falls, N.Y.

Before you hit “subscribe” on a membership you might not make the most of, ask yourself what you are hoping to get out of it. For many, the answer goes beyond losing weight or looking good in their jeans, says Ms. Marshall. Getting outside, even for short periods, can provide mental and physical health benefits.

“If the question is, ‘Which is going to help with my well-being: the walk in the park or 20 minutes on the StairMaster?’ The walk in the park is going to have a better outcome,” she says.

About 20 minutes of daily moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, which could include a brisk walk or pushing a lawn mower, provides the same health benefits as running for 60 to 75 minutes a week, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Outdoor activities, such as group walks, hiking or biking, became more popular during the pandemic, according to the ACSM’s 2023 fitness trends report.

“Outdoor activity doesn’t take any technology and they don’t have to rely on an instructor instructing them from who knows where,” says Dr. Walt Thompson, former president of the ACSM and author of the report.



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Clocking out to Turn Back Time—Vacations That Will Help You Live Longer
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Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.

Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.

“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.

“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.

While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.

“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.

While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.

Anti Ageing and Beyond

“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.

On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.

Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.

Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.

Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.

Data-Driven Wellness

Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.

“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”

Human connection is a central draw for guests at Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.

Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.

Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.

Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Sanctuaries for Longevity

Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.

Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.

Banya Spa House at Aman New York.
Robert Rieger

The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.

“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.

Resetting the Mind and Body

Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.

Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.

“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.

Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.

While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”

“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”

Banya Spa House at Aman New York provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Robert Rieger

This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.

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